Do we need a social media detox?


We're all guilty of spending far too much time on social media. Whenever we have a spare few minutes, it's routine to scroll through Instagram and aimlessly like people's photos or post a filtered Snapchat of ourselves to let everyone know that we've left the house. It's almost become a safety blanket - if we're waiting for a friend we don't want to make awkward eye contact with the people walking past so we flick between Twitter and Facebook and back to Twitter again because something might have drastically changed within the last 30 seconds and we must know about it right now. In fact, most of the time we're not even paying attention to the content, it's just something we do to keep our hands and minds occupied whilst the rest of the world goes by.

Besides being a fun distraction, social media has other beneficial uses. You can find out the latest news with the click of a button, chat to a relative who lives on the other side of the world via messenger or more recently, make a living from influencing the public via your social media posts. 24/7 access to the online world has created so many opportunities and opened our eyes to endless possibilities, however, it's not always positive.

Even though we're all connected via social channels, platforms and devices, as a society we probably couldn't be more anti-social. It's quicker to catch up with what your friends are doing by checking their Facebook instead of meeting up with them in person. And gone are the days of sending people birthday cards or phoning them to wish them a happy birthday. Now people type out a generic 'happy birthday', post it to your profile and that's the only interaction you'll get. The likelihood is that they won't have even remembered that it is your birthday and they were just reminded by Facebook in the first place.

From personal experience, I can safely say that I would be a lot happier if social media didn't consume so much of my life. Especially on those days when I already feel down about myself and I go online to be greeted with photos of Caribbean beaches, clothes I can't afford and Victoria's Secret models that I wish I looked like. And it's so easy for people to say "well don't follow those accounts then" or "just ignore it, it's not realistic anyway" but if I'm already having a bad day, it's almost like I purposely search for things that I know are going to upset or annoy me because it's like I want to prove myself right. I see something and my brain says "Yep, that bikini model does have a better body than you" - even though I know there's a very good chance that the photo has been heavily edited, it doesn't change the way I look at it or the way it makes me feel. This is definitely one of the most dangerous byproducts of social media. Although I can admit that I am affected by what I see online and how it makes me feel, I am consciously aware that it can be very unrealistic. I also know when to take a break in order to shake off the negativity that can sometimes ensue.

However, not everyone finds it easy to switch off and vulnerable people such as teenagers and children might not be able to deal with the consequences of this addiction that is taking over. That's why I think it's important for everyone to have a social media detox once in a while (I'm trying to avoid it for a day a week) in order to live in the moment and reevaluate what really matters to us. I also think a conversation about social media needs to be added to the school curriculum as it is growing and becoming more accessible every day. As a society we need to be taught how to use it correctly and safely and how to protect future generations from the mistakes that we have made.

This was a bit of a different type of post for me but it's something I feel passionate about and I think a lot of people will be able to relate to it. Let me know your opinions on social media, and if you think you'd be able to take a break from it, in the comments below x

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